Boris Johnson yesterday launched the #BackBusking campaign to support London’s street musicians. Winners of the Eurostar Gigs Music competition The King’s Parade gave an impromptu performance on the platform at St Pancras, before heading to Paris for a week of gigs and busking.
The mayor warned that red tape and confusing rules could force talented buskers off London’s streets. To stop this he is setting up a task force with the aim of developing an approach that makes London the most busker-friendly city in the world. He wants to legitimise busking and make sure genuine buskers outside designated schemes don’t get moved on.
Jamie Cullum has backed the campaign. He says ‘music is part of what gives London its buzz and that includes street musicians. It’s a shame if some of them are being put off by rules and regulations and I urge everyone to get behind this important campaign. Whether you play or just like listening to music – #Backbusking!’
X factor musician Luke Friend also lent his support, saying ‘It’s always important to find ways of expressing yourself and busking for some people is the main way of doing this. No-one should be afraid to show their talent.’
Busking is an opportunity for new and emerging artists to hone their skills and gain experience, but the Mayor is concerned talented musicians could be put off, even giving up on London altogether. Such an exodus would threaten the capital’s status as one of the world’s greatest cities for music.
London musicians and singers aged 11-25 are now being urged to sign up to take part in this year’s Gigs busking competition. Organised by the Mayor, shortlisted acts will take part in live performances at Gigs busking pitches this summer. The best acts – as chosen by expert industry judges and the Gigs public vote – will go head-to-head at the Gigs Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 7 September. Young Londoners wanting to take part can sign-up at www.gigsbigbusk.com